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Preview: London Welsh v Sale

15th February 2013 11:52

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Richie Gray Sale Aviva Premiership

Back for Sale: Richie Gray

Sale Sharks welcome back Scotland lock Richie Gray back to their starting line up for Sunday's clash with London Welsh at the Kassam Stadium.

There is just one change to the backline where Will Cliff starts at scrum-half after Dwayne Peel was ruled out due to a facial injury he picked up in the win over Exeter Chiefs.

Meanwhile, London Welsh head coach Lyn Jones has made four changes to his side.

The Exiles go into the game on the back of a 28-12 defeat to Leicester Tigers at Welford Road last Saturday.

Gavin Henson and Alex Davies form a new half back combination, with Gordon Ross and Tyson Keats named among the replacements.

In the forwards, Paulica Ion comes in at tight head for Greg Batman, while there's a debut for new signing Argentina international Julio Cabello, who starts at openside in place of Michael Hills.

When the sides last met, at the Salford City Stadium in September, the Exiles came out on top, 29-19, thanks to tries from Jonathan Mills and Ed Jackson, and 19 points from the boot of Gordon Ross.

"The boys are really looking forward to Sunday's game - there's been a really good atmosphere all week in training," said Jones.

"Sunday is an opportunity for us to try and close the gap on Worcester in the table, but there's still a very long way to go in the season after the Sale game.

"Even though we lost to Leicester we were pleased with many aspects of our game. Boys are improving and adapting to the pace of the Premiership - we're making good progress."

Form: London Welsh have won just one of their last nine matches in all competitions: 62-5 over Prato at Kassam Stadium in the European Challenge Cup on 12 January. Sale Sharks have won their last three games in all competitions. Sale's most recent victory on the road in Aviva Premiership Rugby was at Gloucester, 24-19, on 21 April 2014. London Welsh beat Sale 29-19 when the two met at Salford City Stadium on 21 September. The only other previous league meeting was in January 1989 at Old Deer Park, which Sale won 16-9.

The teams:

London Welsh: 15 Tom Arscott, 14 Phil MacKenzie , 13 Gonzalo Tiesi , 12 Sonny Parker , 11 Nick Scott, 10 Gavin Henson , 9 Alex Davies, 8 Ed Jackson 7 Julio Cabello , 6 Adam Balding, 5 Matt Corker, 4 Jonathan Mills (C), 3 Paulica Ion , 2 Neil Briggs, 1 Franck Montanella.
Replacements: 16 Greg Bateman, 17 Tom Bristow, 18 James Tideswell, 19 Kirill Kulemin, 20 Michael Hills, 21 Tyson Keats, 22 Gordon Ross, 23 Seb Jewell.

Sale Sharks: 15 Rob Miller, 14 Charlie Amesbury, 13 Jonny Leota, 12 Sammy Tuitupou, 11 Mark Cueto, 10 Danny Cipriani, 9 Will Cliff, 8 James Gaskell 7 David Seymour, 6 Dan Braid, 5 Tom Holmes, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Henry Thomas, 2 Marc Jones, 1 Alasdair Dickinson.
Replacements: 16 Tommy Taylor, 17 Ross Harrison, 18 Eifion Lewis Roberts, 19 Andy Powell, 20 Richie Vernon, 21 Cillian Willis, 22 Nick Macleod, 23 Will Addison

Date: Sunday, February 17
Kick-off: 15:00
Venue: Kassam Stadium
Referee: JP Doyle
Assistant referees: Nigel Carrick, Paul Dix
Timekeeper: Eric Bullion
Assessor: Tony Spreadbury

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